Please tell me a little about yourself generally, and specifically what compelled you to go to law school?
I’m a first-generation college and law student who has wanted to be a lawyer since I read To Kill a Mockingbird. In tenth grade, I saw Atticus Finch as this beacon of hope—a helper—and that’s how I identified lawyers, as helpers. From the outset, I’ve tried to follow that path.
What made you want to pursue an internship through the Judicial Intern Opportunity Program (JIOP)? Please also tell us about your experience.
Getting the chance to work for a federal judge wasn’t something I even knew about when I entered law school. My first-year legal writing professor discussed clerkships and the way we could hone and craft our litigation and research skills as new lawyers by working for a judge. I found JIOP as a way to gain skills I didn’t know I needed as a lawyer. I spent the first summer after law school in Kansas City, Missouri, where I saw amazing (and terrible) advocacy, had the chance to see all aspects of litigation (including a mediation!), and had the chance to write on behalf of a federal judge. Those seven weeks helped me determine that I wanted to be a litigator—and a good one at that.
What was something that you learned through your judicial internship that influences you still today as an attorney?
You can disagree without being disagreeable. Kansas City is a smallish bar—not unlike the construction bar I practice in today. You’re bound to have another case against opposing counsel, so it’s best to be kind but firm, advocate zealously, while being fair, and remain cordial in what otherwise can be a competitive profession.